Re: [OPE-L] Grundrisse. Help

From: Fred Moseley (fmoseley@MTHOLYOKE.EDU)
Date: Thu Aug 17 2006 - 11:15:23 EDT

Hi Howard,

Thanks for your message.  Sorry if I misunderstood you.

I am not sure what the difference is between  a "framework" and a "frame",
but I certainly agree with you that a necessary condition for the
production of surplus-value is the existence of labor-power on the market.
I think maybe we were talking about two different things.

I was using "analytical framework" in a loose way to describe the general
structure of a theory - what the main questions are, what the starting
point is, how the logic proceeds, etc.

The circulation of money capital identifies that the main question of
Marx's theory is the determination of the magnitude of dM (or
surplus-value) at the end of the process; that the starting point of the
theory is M, the initial money capital advanced to purchase means of
production and labor-power in the sphere of circulation; and that Marx's
theory proceeds from the sphere of circulation to the sphere of production
(where the surplus-value is produced), and then returns back to the sphere
of circulation (where the surplus-value is realized).

The circulation of money capital is also used by Marx to argue that
labor-power is a  necessary condition for the production of surplus-value,
as follows:  as long as the theory is restricted to the sphere of
circulation, and exchange is assumed to be the exchange of equivalents,
then surplus-value cannot be explained.  In order to produce
surplus-value, capitalists must be able to purchase, in the sphere of
circulation, a commodity whose consumption outside of circulation, is the
source of  additional value.  That unique commodity is of course

My main concern was to emphasize that Marx's "analytical framework" is
very different from Sraffa's "analytical framework", according to which
the main questions are the rate of profit and unit prices, the starting
point is input-output tables in physical terms, and the logic proceeds by
simultaneous determination of a system of equations.  Instead of Marx's
circulation of money capital (M-C ... P ... C'-M'), Sraffa's framework could
be described symbolically as:  Q ... P ... C'.  No money at the beginning
and no first phase in the sphere of circulation.  The inputs to
production are physical quantities, without prices, not commodities with
already existing prices, coming from the sphere of circulation, which are
taken as given.

In your previous message, it sounded to me like you were saying that
Marx's theory focuses on physical quantities, similar to Sraffa's theory,
rather than quantities of money capital, and that is why I objected.
If that is not what you are saying, then I am fine with that.

Thanks again.


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